Breaking the Resource Curse

“Future Funds” Could Spur Economic Development in Central Appalachia As Central Appalachian coal production declines, many realize the need to maximize tax revenues from coal and natural gas extraction. For the past three years, a movement to establish a permanent natural resource trust fund has grown in West Virginia. Ted Boettner, the executive director of…

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Knoxville: “The Sustainable City”

By Nolen Nychay Knoxville, Tenn. ranks second in the nation for growth in green jobs and is one of only a handful of American cities to have fully bounced back from the economic recession, according to a recent Brookings Institute report. Since 2006, the city has reduced carbon emissions by 17 percent, and under Mayor…

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A Science of Responsibility:

Dr. Ben Stout’s Dedication to Community-Based Research By Brian Sewell Dr. Ben Stout, a stream ecologist and professor of biology at Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia, is as at home in nearby communities as he is in the classroom. For more than 20 years, he has conducted his research outside of the lab and…

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Teacher, Wife, Activist, Mother:

Wilma Lee Steele Turns Focus to Healing By Molly Moore For Wilma Lee Steele, the devastation wrought by mountaintop removal coal mining can’t be measured solely by polluted streams or transformed ridgelines. For someone as spiritually connected to the mountains of her West Virginia home as Steele is, blasting away mountaintops for the sake of…

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Anna Behnke: A Seventh Grade Activist

By Sarah Kellogg Seventh grader Anna Behnke loves to swim in Mountain Island Lake, but two years ago, she learned about the water pollution caused by Duke Energy’s Riverbend coal-fired power plant and began to worry about the impact the pollution could have on children’s health. So, for a sixth grade science project, Behnke tested…

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Innovating with Electric Cooperatives

By Sarah Kellogg An inspiring, forward-thinking businessman, Mike Couick works to distribute affordable electricity to rural homes. “I don’t believe it’s a sustainable business plan to try to sell electricity that a member can’t afford,” Couick says. “The bottom line is their satisfaction and well-being.” Couick is the CEO of the Electric Cooperatives of South…

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Diane Pitcock Connects Landowners to Fracking Researchers

By Molly Moore When Diane Pitcock and her family retired to rural Doddridge County, W.Va., in 2005, she planned on canning garden vegetables, watching the stars and listening to the owls. Today, however, four Marcellus Shale gas rigs surround her land, and the ridge behind her home hosts an access road instead of a forest.…

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